Based on a true crime story, the movie is about a wild jazz-loving and boozing wife Roxie Hart who kills her boyfriend in cold blood after he leaves her, and how she finagles her way out ... See full summary »
Charles (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings), are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.
A young kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (Costello), a cop-killing gangster boss (Oakman) and his downtrodden ex-girlfriend (Brockwell).Written by
Fascinating and amusingly bad, Lights of New York is the first all talkie feature and one that almost never saw the light of day.
Two naive barbers (Eddie and Gene) from out of town get involved with bootleggers and end up fronting a speak. When a cop is shot by one of the bootleggers the police start to close in, and the Hawk (who shot the officer) decides to pin the murder on Eddie instructing his henchman to "take him for a ride". But it's the Hawk himself who takes the bullet in a twist that will surprise few.
Shot in one week at a cost of $23,000, "Lights" was originally meant as a two reeler but Foy took advantage of Jack Warner's absence to extend it to six. When Warner discovered this he ordered Foy to cut it back to the original short. Only when an independent exhibitor offered $25k for the film, did Warners actually look at the film, which went on to make a staggering $1.3 million.
Seen now this is an extremely hokey piece, with acting that ranges from the passable (Eugene Pallette) to trance like (Eddie's Granny in a particularly risible scene) and much of the playing is at the level of vaudeville. Since it's an early talkie (4 part-talkies preceded it) that's about all the characters do, and very slowly at that. The script feels improvised, visual style is non existent (apart from the shooting scene done in silhouette) and scenes grind on interminably. Title cards are intercut which redundantly announce characters and locales.
Despite all this "Lights" is a compelling experience, as we watch actors and crew struggling with the alien technology, and changing cinema for ever.
Catch it if you can
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